Sweet home, Pasadena

Sweet home, Pasadena

Local publisher brings the Crown City to life with ‘Literary Pasadena’

By Carl Kozlowski 04/10/2013

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As one of America’s most distinctive and picturesque cities, Pasadena has long been inspired great works of art from films and photographs and paintings to popular TV shows. Now, the new book “Literary Pasadena” is bringing the city to life on the page, as an impressive assortment of authors who are either based in the Crown City or have written about it have joined forces to offer a collection of stories that is sure to impress any fan of great writing.

Published by South Pasadena-based Prospect Park Books, which has been growing impressively since 2006, the collection features such popular locals as national bestseller Denise Hamilton, Michelle Huneven, Jim Krusoe, Scott O’Connor, Rachel M. Harper and the book’s editor Patricia O’Sullivan – all of whom will be appearing at Vroman’s Bookstore at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 18, to discuss and sign the book.

The book is designed to be the first in an annual series of companion pieces to LitFest Pasadena, which will take place in May. Future editions will focus on poetry, essays, humor and other topics. According to O’Sullivan, it was a “labor of love” that was well worth the effort.

“Our publisher, Colleen Dunn Bates, had been considering doing an anthology ever since founding the company — and especially after the runaway successes of ‘Hometown Pasadena’ and LA Times bestseller ‘Helen of Pasadena,’” says O’Sullivan. “Using Pasadenans was also an emergent decision as we worked on the book. We had tremendous support from writers we knew, who helped us reach lots of writers we didn’t know, and it gradually became clear that to create the best possible book, we needed an either/or approach. Either they live in the area or the story is about the area, or both.”

 While “Literary Pasadena” mostly consists of short stories, it also includes several excerpts from novels, which “adds another literary element and lots of variety” according to O’Sullivan.

At the Vroman’s event, her panel will be discussing short fiction writing, since it is often the arena in which writers begin their careers. Beyond that, O’Sullivan is planning events at LitFest Pasadena and the Pasadena Museum of History, as well as two group signings at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

“Since we have 29 contributors, each event will be unique, with different panelists and topics,” says O’Sullivan. “Our mantra is to build relationships with writers and build their careers, alongside building our company. If our writers aren’t happy, we’re not happy. We’re based here because we live here, but we also think that we benefit from our differentiation as a West Coast publisher with a West Coast sensibility.”

Editor Patricia O’Sullivan and other writers present “Literary Pasadena: The Fiction Edition” at 7 p.m. next Thursday, April 18, at Vroman’s Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Call (626) 449-5320 or visit vromans.com.

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